But Until Then

One of these days I guess the jig will be up
once and for all then its up up and away.
But until then my heart will go on singing
down down and here, here where angels
dress up daily as geese and foul football fields,
here where every Friday the evening news
picks a PERSON OF THE WEEK, here where
if you’re really a rebel you hold your eyes just so,
blinded by the innocence of this old world.
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Terror and the beauty insoluble.
As in the way the freshly cut apple smell
spells the air just as your father sends
the text that tells of his good friend
who killed himself this morning after
years of the awful cancer.
You take of the apple and taste God’s fancy
just as your father’s postscript arrives:
I can understand it.
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After The Peak

I used to fret that I’ve passed the peak of my powers.
You know, like the Times talks about a novelist
“writing at the peak of her powers.” But that’s usually
the perspective of someone else, not the novelist.
Plus the peak is sometimes too much, like the autumn
leaves too gold, too red, almost unbelievable.
There are the colors that follow, fading shades less
brilliant but more courageous, more earthish.
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At First

God forbid, but if it were ever
to happen they predicted some
virulent outbreak, some
brutal interruption of their lives, some
threshold beyond which
everything was AFTER.
But that’s not how their
marriage found itself dystopic.
It came about hardly noticed,
the way nails grow, as
he would say I LOVE YOU and she
would turn to him and just say YES.
He thought it sweet at first, an
abbreviation of their aging comfortableness
with one another.
In some ways so did she, at first.
Or so she hoped.
Such are the sins of omission.
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A Tale of Juarez

Exactly why we bought the marble chess
set in Juarez I cannot say. I only remember
my father and mother carrying the heavy board
and paper bag of pieces through crowded streets
firecracker hot with the smell of mammon.
The set sat on our coffee table for years.
We learned the basics of the game but never moved
with much skill. We were more checker people.
But the heavy board and pieces served as icons
in the tale of the time the baptist preacher and his wife
jewed a man down one day in a reeky border town.
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In The Image

In addition to the Imago Dei
there are the Imagoes Pater and Mater.
Truth is we’re made in their image too.
Try as we might to completely shed that skin
there is always another fresher layer
breathing beneath, hungry for the light.
This is blessing and curse, and blessing.
This is how it has been from day one
(or day six if you’re a stickler), all of us
wriggling against the rocks of our shadows
trying to become other than our parents.
Salvation comes by way of the vox, that
gift bestowed that must then be earned.
This too is blessing and curse, and blessing.
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If you set aside the letter P
from the word POETRY
then what remains is OETRY.
And if you read what’s left like it looks
you have OH, TRY – 
which in my plebby opinion
is what my muse keeps singing
in a variety of musey ways
when I whine I’ve nothing to say.
     Yes, she sings. Doesn’t yours?
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